New Structure for Competitive Soccer

New Structure for Competitive Soccer

SUSC, in cooperation with Saskatoon Youth Soccer has engaged in numerous fact-finding activities related to the optimal structure for children and youth athletes to develop. From a player perspective, studies have shown us that it is widely accepted that development is best effected when players are grouped with players of similar ability. We also found that league play is essential to optimal development provided that the league provides meaningful competition, meaning that all games are close. Training without league play is shown to slow down progression, as league play serves as a ‘test’ for the application of learned competencies. SUSC takes seriously, its responsibility to group players according to their needs, allowing them to develop a strong fundamental skills base.

SUSC and Saskatoon Youth Soccer (SYSI) are pleased to announce a new format and structure for the SYSI competitive leagues, which is more in line with the aspirations and needs of players.

Scheduled for introduction in the fall of 2021, the old divisional format will be replaced with a dual-stream league structure, based on the needs and desired commitment of players.

Generally, the Alliance League is designed for players who have a reasonable grasp of fundamental soccer skills and for those who consider soccer their main sport. The City League is designed for players who need time to develop, either technically or physically or for those who want to maintain a level of flexibility in their commitment to soccer. It is also a place for beginner players over the age of ten, where they can master the fundamentals before moving to a more demanding environment if the wish. During the registration process, players will be asked whether they want to participate in the City League, where a formal evaluation is NOT needed, or the Alliance League where proof of technical tactical competency is tested and ranked. Players who opt for the latter, but are not yet ready, will be referred to the City League.

Both City and Alliance players will have access to supplementary training to suit their needs, and both groups are considered equally important to SUSC desire to fulfill the needs of our members. Players, working with the Club’s technical leads have the ability to move between leagues based on readiness and mastery of fundamentals.

Conventional knowledge and study data confirms that:

  • Grouping players of widely different age groups or competencies is not recommended
  • Negatively affects the development of both more and less experienced player
  • Optimum development takes place in groups of similar ability o Detrimental to social-emotional well-being when players are overwhelmed
  • Difficult for coaches to provide appropriate challenges

Our responsibility is to set players up for success, not failure

  • We are committed to placing players where they will thrive
  • This is best done by appropriate grouping of players, and providing developmental opportunities for all • Beginner players aged 10 and older start in the City League
  • City League players are provided an enriched skills program to aid upward mobility
  • A choice of either stream is provided at time of registration
  • Players choosing the City League do not require evaluation sessions
  • Players choosing the Alliance League require a competency evaluation
  • If deemed not yet ready, Alliance applicants will be placed in the City League


  • Players willing to make a heavier commitment to the game
  • Coaches are at a minimum C License trained or adequately experienced
  • Expected to prioritize SUSC events over any other soccer events
  • Larger financial commitment because of enhanced facilities and coaching
  • U11 and U13 will have predominantly Senior/Junior groupings if numbers permit
  • U15 will be divided into two pools based on competency levels, but may use the junior/senior format, should registration numbers permit.
  • The U17 and U19 groupings will be decided based on registrations, however
    • The wide age band is planned to be eliminated
    • The interlocking game and disparity of competition is planned to be eliminated
  • Under 13 players are eligible to represent SUSC in PSL summer league
  • Alliance Players have access to the city-wide Alliance Academy (Extra Cost)


  • U11 (2011 & 2012) Under 10/Under 11 for Alliance League
  • U13 (2009 & 2010) Under 12/Under 13 for Alliance League
  • U15 (2007 & 2008) Possibly U14/U15 for Alliance League
  • U17 (2005 & 2006) With modified programming to ensure optimal grouping
  • U19 (2003 & 2004) With modified programming to ensure optimal grouping


  • One Game per week on average
  • 2-3 Training / Practice Sessions
  • Alliance Academy opportunities (Extra Cost and replaces one in-house Academy session)
    • If a player is selected to the Alliance Academy, they can skip one SUSC session


  • Open try-outs for 2021-22. Registration for try-outs will be posted on the SYSI website
  • Only open to Alliance League players registered with SYSI
  • Registration for try-outs will open in August on the SYSI website
  • Additional fees for Alliance Academy
  • Alliance Academy players will form future U15 and U17 PSL teams representing Saskatoon Youth Soccer

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